Tuesday, November 30, 2010
THE CUTEST DRESS OF 2010. WITHOUT DOUBT. I have more to say here soon. Just not tonight. I'm fading and will be back early in the morning to tell you how much I want to make a fool of myself wearing this dress....Truth is, not just any woman can carry this one off. It takes a unique attitude.I'm fading and will be back early in the morning to tell you how much I want to make a fool of myself wearing this dress....Of course at my age, I would either be arrested or abducted to a 12-step program for being out of touch with reality. Still, I know a great look when I see one, even if it's not going to be on me.
Kelly Brook pulls it off with perfect hair and figure, lithe, sexy shoes---thank heavens she shunned that awful bondage foot fashion look which ruins even the best look from the ankles up---and a smiling assurance that will take her anywhere she wants to go. The only thing I might add---with emphasis on the might---is a little silver/platinum/diamond understated earring that could add a little more movement though it should not take away from the focus on the dress.
Meanwhile, I love it and will dream of silver feathers shimmering in the breeze all night long.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Love the commodity. But I also like its more delicate presentations. I would prefer this fabulous dress to be a tad---say about 2 inches---shorter for ideal proportions. But overall, love this symbol of our times.
MEANWHILE, THIS IS IMPORTANT
THE DRAMA OF IT ALL BORES ME TO TEARS
I HAVE TO ADMIT IT. I HATE TO. But sometimes confession is good for the soul....so here goes.
Of all the stories that have hit my radar screen this year---and there have been plenty--- this has left me utterly uninterested, uninvolved to the point of massive boredom. Is it just me or can I get a witness? Whatever the answer, I am still unmoved to the point of terminal ennui. I simply can't get beyond the first paragraph.
I've often said, learned over the years, we can't manufacture interest in things we're not interested in. Can't make connections when there are none. Can't like what we don't, even when we want like crazy to, and think it may be in our best interest.
And so it is with this entire WikiLeaks story. From Day 1, I've simply had zero interest. It may be the Story of the Century, Decade and Year, but I remain unimpressed to such a degree that I'm actually repulsed every time I try to read more and see the pic of that insipid-looking man at the center of the story. Looking at him leaves me cold and bored.
Of all the articles I've attempted to read of this molehill-made-into-Mt. Everest, one of my favorite collegues and political wise guys, Roger Simon, says it best. I was able to get entirely through his post late last night with a sense of proportion and a very small degree of interest. Sure there are lessons to be learned about digital propriety and publishing our inner thoughts online. And sure there are people out there who will do anything for attention and their 20-30 minutes of fame.
Still, continue to color me massively unimpressed by this story. I'm willing to let the chips fall where they may in whatever shallowness it says about me. I don't think Hillary should let the bags under her eyes get bigger with this one, even though some new procedures could and should be put into place. Sorry....
A few updates from Roger:
UPDATE: Reading through the New York Times’ new posting from the leaks, just linked by Drudge, there still does not seem to be anything extraordinary here. Perhaps the most meaningful revelation — and something we all knew anyway — is the continued concern with Pakistani nukes. What impresses me about this information, reading through the Times report, is the predictability of it all (an erratic Gaddafi — imagine!). So far, the story remains the leaks themselves.
MORE: On of the most fascinating leaks is that North Korea sent 19 medium range BM-25 missiles to Iran. This was communicated in a cable of Feb 24, 2010 but has remained secret until this date. Why was this hidden from the public – that is the most important of this. After all, that the NORKS have been in an alliance with Iran is known to anyone even slightly interested. The fact that the Iranians are so heavily armed in the missile department has never been documented before. Was the administration afraid someone would want to do something about it? Sounds that way to me.
And now my 12-step meeting for addictive boredom with WikiLeaks is over...thank you for listening.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
OUR CHIEF DANGER, OUR HEART
Let it be a settled resolution with us to “keep our hearts with all diligence,” all the days of our lives. (Prov. 4:23.) Even after renewal they are weak. Even after putting on the new man they are deceitful. Let us never forget that our chief danger is from within. The world and the devil combined, cannot do us so much harm as our own hearts will, if we do not watch and pray. Happy is he who remembers daily the words of Solomon, “One who trusts in himself is a fool.” (Prov. 28:26.)
Friday, November 26, 2010
I REALLY LIKE JEFF FISHER EVEN THOUGH I'M NOT A BIG PRO FOOTBALL FAN. He's my kinda man. Like everyone in the sports world, I've been following the latest Titans flap which erupted when quarterback Vince Young injured his thumb, was sidelined then stormed off the field during a subsequent temper tantrum. Young was protesting Fisher's decision to bench him for the duration after the Titans loss to Washington recently.
The latest to this brouhaha is that Young texted Fisher an apology on his cell phone for walking off the field. Say what?
It did not go over well with the Titans coach. I couldn't agree more. Not only did Young show Fisher massive disrespect as head coach for storming off the field, he also minimized his childish behavior in his less than courageous text apology.
Fisher confirmed he did receive Young's text but preferred a face-to-face effort on Young's part.
"I'm not a real big text guy," Fisher said. "I'm not really into this new-age stuff. I don't Twitter or tweet, but I think face-to-face is a man thing."
According to ESPN, the text included Young thanking Fisher for the opportunity to play for the Titans and wishing him and the team good luck for the rest of the season. Young ended the text by asking Fisher to have more faith and confidence in him moving forward, and said that they each wanted the same thing — to win a Super Bowl.
Fisher said he hasn't met with Young. On Monday, Young was told by an assistant coach to leave Baptist Sports Park while the team met to discuss his situation. Young was placed on injured reserve and will miss the rest of the season with the torn flexor tendon in his thumb.
Fisher has done the right thing to not jump at Young's puerile apology and let him off the hook so easily. He should take his time before letting Young approach him in person and take full responsibility for his childish behavior. Then and only then can Fisher decide what to do next, if anything.
As I say, I really like Jeff Fisher. To accept Young's cowardly excuse for an apology would only diminish Fisher in the eyes of his team and fans. So I back him 1000% in his stance on Vince Young. Young needs to man up and grow up, and taking short cuts won't cut it.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
THANKSGIVING WAS NEVER A FAVORITE holiday of mine. Now that I think about it, I never cared for any of them: 4th of July, Christmas, or Columbus Day (which, by the way, Berkeley long ago renamed "Indigenous People's Day".
If I'm completely honest here, my main activities during the holidays were ranting and raving. For instance: Why should we celebrate Thanksgiving when the holiday marks the slaughter of Native Americans? Why do these cashiers keep cheerfully extolling me to "have a Merry Christmas!"? And if I hear one more [censored] Christmas song, I will lose my frigging mind.
Of course, I was just one of the progressive pack, parroting the party line. Being a Leftist means honing in on every possible injustice. Never-ending gripes and grievances are the glue that keeps progressives cemented together. (Like this woman who's grossed out and wants no part of the injustices and lies of Thanksgiving.)
But then, three years ago, the bottom fell out of my life. Slowly but surely, it dawned on me that everything I had held as sacrosanct was a lie. I woke up -- and now I behold the world with fresh eyes. Consequently, I am celebrating my First Thankful Thanksgiving.
Instead of laser-focusing on every unfairness, I am now moved by life's bounty. I finally see my great fortune in being born in this country, in this moment in time. Although I used to lambaste the United States and everything it stood for, I realize that I was like a spoiled child -- ungrateful, mean-spirited.
I was under the delusion that living in another country, any other country, would be better than in the world's oppressor, the U.S. of A. And now that I've actually gotten a clue, I thank my lucky stars that I was not born a woman in Iran, Ethiopia, China -- actually anywhere aside from the United States.
I realize all of this now, but also much, much more. Because not only is this my first Thanksgiving as a patriotic American, but it's my first as a true believer. With my spiritual evolution, my life has come full circle.
So this Thanksgiving, I feel not only grateful, but blessed. I read something evocative in the illuminating book Back to Virtue. The author writes that before a person believes in God, he feels either happy or unhappy. The person will cling to fleeting pleasures, no matter how harmful they may be.
When a person wakes up to the Divine, he's still sometimes happy and other times unhappy. But through all the trials and tribulations of this human realm, he continually feels blessed.
I too feel blessed, even as I must face the unavoidable sorrows of this transient human life. My health problems flare up; I'm worried but still feel blessed. I live in an insane area and lack community -- and yet, through it all, my gratitude never wavers.
This is because I know what it's like to live with and without God. I know what it's like to search aimlessly for something I lack, not even knowing what it is, and to blindly embrace political leaders because they promise to fill the void. And I know the bliss of finding what I was looking for all along.
Because I live a before-and-after existence, every day feels brand new. Now when I start losing something precious -- which I am doing right now, as a close friend is broadsided by a deadly disease -- I know that something endures even after everything else is gone.
As my cup runneth over this Thanksgiving, my mind drifts to the many guides and mentors I've had along the way. I'm eternally grateful to American Thinker's mensch of an editor, Thomas Lifson, who embraced my writing from that first article two years ago, "Letter of Amends."
By doing so, Thomas opened a window for me into the conservative community -- "My Peeps" -- that I would not have discovered on my own. He gave me the chance to find my way to those readers who, quite frankly, changed my life. I can even recall the exact moment when the spark of the Divine was planted in my consciousness.
I was reading a comment by a reader who wrote the oddest and yet most intriguing thing. He/she wrote, "God is revealing Himself to you." I had no idea what the person was talking about; I had never heard language like this before. And yet because my eyes moistened, I knew that a door to something big and transformative had been opened.
But mostly, as I celebrate my First Thankful Thanksgiving, I feel so blessed that God gave me the opportunity to get my head on straight, even though I am on the cusp of my twilight years. For reasons I will never understand, He gently plucked me up and deposited me with this faithful flock. And given the dark times we live in, He did this just in the nick of time.
MAY GOD BLESS AND KEEP YOU, ROBIN. I'm probably a few years ahead of you in coming back both. It is indeed glorious to be here now!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
1) North Korea was emboldened after sinking a South Korean warship, The Cheonan, last May. Every country short of China blamed this attack on North Korea which got off Scot-free. With no consequences and no censure, this member of the Axis of Evil had no reason, like a spoiled and disobedient child, not to test the limits again.
2) This is another ploy---a bark louder than a bite---to rattle the international community into believing it has the capability of processing and enriching uranium when it really doesn't.3)
3) The attack seems to be anger and a temper tantrum seems over a military drill by South Korea it said was simulating an invasion of the North. The military drill, called Safeguarding The Nation, is a annual exercise involving 70,000 troops including some American forces.
4) Father to son regime change involving an internal power struggle as Kim Jong un replaces father Kim Jong il. Geopolitical analysts have warned of an internal power struggle that may result.
Anyway you slice it, North Korea, like Cuba and Venezuela is a desperate and deeply poverty stricken country which will stop at nothing to get the world's attention and respect.
Monday, November 22, 2010
NOT JUST FOR KIDS EITHER.
I myself think it's a clever depiction though I haven't read the article. Who cares whether I agree, it's still a creative if harmless magazine cover. I'm just waiting for the one of Obama as Neville Chamberlain or Allah, or Marlboro Man. The possibilities are endless, priceless.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
I place these five grand marks of the Spirit’s presence before my readers, and confidently claim attention to them. I believe they will bear inspection. I am not afraid of their being searched, criticized, and cross-examined.
1) Repentance toward God. (Knowing beyond a doubt that we are truly sinners in need of a Savior. That doesn't make us perfect, it just keeps us continually in the repentance process with God.)
2) Faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. (Knowing we are saved only by believing in the finished work of redemption by Jesus Christ on the Cross.)
3) Holiness of heart and life. (Striving to life a life worthy of our salvation, because we love and want to please Christ, not to earn our salvation because that's impossible.)
4) Habits of real private prayer. (Having an ongoing personal relationship and conversation with God.)
5) Love and reverence toward God’s Word. (Being more and more attracted to reading and studying God's Word on a daily basis.)
These are the real proofs of the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in a man’s soul. Where He is, these marks will be seen. Where He is not, these marks will be lacking.
~ J.C. Ryle
Source With Gratitude
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Another reason for families to live within a reasonable drive or train ride to loved ones and most year-round travel destinations as government insanity continues to grow the police state and cost taxpayers billions. Our worlds and pocketbooks are getting smaller.
Friday, November 19, 2010
The Israelis are developing an airport security device that eliminates privacy concerns that come with full-body scanners and more invasive pat-downs at the airports.
It's a booth you step into that will not X-ray you, but instantly detonates any explosive device you may have on you, in any body cavity. They see this as a win-win for everyone, with no need for racial profiling. It also eliminates the costs of long, expensive trials. Justice is swift. Case closed!
You're in the airport terminal and hear a muffled explosion. Shortly afterwards, an announcement comes over the PA system : "Attention standby passengers - we now have a seat available on flight number XXXX. Shalom."
ANOTHER REASON NOT TO FLY, or fly as little as possible during the holidays. Opting out of full body scans and then having to go through this kind of invasive physical nonsense, especially if you're a U.S. citizen and frequent flier, is simply beyond the pail and frightfully expensive for American tax payers. I sincerely hope the newly configured Congress will do whatever is necessary to initiate the kinds of airport security measures that are effective and appropriate in this country. It will necessarily include ethnic/geopolitical profiling and taking many cues from the low-tech security protocols which have been so effective in Israel.
I've flown in and out of Tel Aviv twice now and both times I was personally interviewed by extremely well trained security personnel who know how to spot trouble. I also went through the traditional old screeners. Security was also extremely tight to get onto the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. If we don't begin to follow Israel's common sense leads, airlines will go bankrupt because much of the flying public simply won't put up with this for long. That includes me. The same goes with this health care sham, as more IRS agents are hired for similar reasons. This growing police state needs to end and end now.
One final observation: I think allowing airports to opt out of using TSA screeners is fine as a temporary measure. However, using private contractors only shifts the invasion process. We've got to find ways to get the job done with a greater bang for our tax buck and less hassle for the majority of the low risk flying public. Treating three year-olds like suspected criminals is not going to fly with the public for long.
The next terrorist attack will be much different and most likely light years away from the nearest airport. Oh, let us count the ways it could come.
FINALLY from Nick Baumann writing at Mother Jones comes A Five Point Plan to A Sane Airport Security System:
...I asked Goldberg, security expert Bruce Schneier, and airline pilot (and security critic) Patrick Smith about what their ideal airport security schemes would look like. After speaking to them, I think Kevin is missing the point: the elimination of existing useless security procedures is the heart of the plan. It's not about doing something "instead" of the current system—it's about not doing things that are wasting money and time and not making us safer. It's quite possible that we're already as safe as we're going to get—and every subsequent airport security "improvement" is just reducing our freedom without improving security.
Schneier is famous for explaining that "exactly two things have made us safer since 9/11: reinforcing the cockpit door and convincing passengers they need to fight back. Everything else is a waste of money." All three experts favor scrapping most of the security measures that people hate—and not necessarily replacing them with anything. Ideally, the money that was saved wouldn't be spent on airport security at all: it would be spent on trying to stop terrorists before they got to the airport. That means better-funding law enforcement and intelligence.
All that said, Goldberg, Schneier, and Smith did offer some suggestions for new or different security procedures to use "instead" of the methods we're currently relying on. Here are a few options:
1. Enhance baggage security. All three experts mentioned this. Baggage is where the greatest danger is, and where airport security resources should be focused. "Right now the biggest threats are still bombs and explosives. That's the path of least resistance," Smith says. "All luggage going on passenger planes should be treated the same, and scanned," says Schneier. Making sure that a passenger's bags never, ever fly if he doesn't is also key. And we could do more. Here's an excerpt from a 2006 article by Schneier:
If I were investing in security, I would fund significant research into computer-assisted screening equipment for both checked and carry-on bags, but wouldn't spend a lot of money on invasive screening procedures and secondary screening. I would much rather have well-trained security personnel wandering around the airport, both in and out of uniform, looking for suspicious actions.
2 .Pay more attention to airport workers. Schneier was an early advocate of background checks and increased screening for airport employees. If you're screening pilots, it's "completely absurd" not to screen the guy who is loading food on the plane, Smith says. This has improved in recent years, and the TSA now conducts random screening of airport employees. That could be broadened. Goldberg suggested considering biometric IDs for airport employees.
3. Randomize enhanced screening. Schneier has suggested that any "enhanced" screening of passengers be "truly random." That means that while the majority of passengers wouldn't face the invasive security checks they face now, every passenger would face the risk of a thorough search. Terrorists can't avoid or plan for truly random enhanced searches, like they can with protocol-, background-, and profiling-based searches. You don't want terrorists to be able to plan their way around your security. You want them to have to get lucky.
4. Make security lines less vulnerable. The huge lines of people waiting in airport security lines are themselves a huge target. "If you want to terrorize the country, you don't have to take down an airplane, you can just take people down in a security line," Goldberg says. "All these people packed in tightly waiting and waiting and waiting... The next day all the airports in America will be closed." Moving people through security quickly and efficiently will make the security lines themselves less of a target.
5. The Israeli model is unworkable on a large scale. But that doesn't mean you can't replicate parts of it. Some people believe that America should move to the Israeli model of airport security: intense screening based on asking passengers many, many questions and assessing their responses. But the experts I spoke to don't think that plan is workable in the United States. Israel has one medium-sized airport, and it would be next to impossible (and incredibly expensive) to enact Israeli-style security procedures in a country the size of the US. But that doesn't mean you couldn't have more (well-trained!) people observing passengers' behavior or asking key questions of randomly selected passengers.
The U.S. dominates the world now in only two disparate arenas: defense technology and entertainment. In nearly all else, it is slipping.
It will be a shocking day for Americans when people from another country walk on the moon, where astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin trod in 1969. But it will happen.
---Llewellyn King, Energy Tells Tale of Fading West, Booming East
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
There are a few on this list that leave me less than gaga-ed; but the first few, including Jessica do lift the bar for looking like a woman should.
It's lites out for me...nitey-nite.
P.S. Did you know Al Gore's Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX)---owned also with Al by Goldman Sachs ec.---is fading faster in the night than I am? Yep, it seems it will no longer be trading carbon credits as it was a miserable flopola. What! You mean carbon may not be the next world currency? Typically, the MSM isn't saying a single word! MORE.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
THE TELEGRAPH INTERVIEWS WILLIAM AND KATE
The big question is, can Kate fit into to the stuffy royal family for the long haul in ways that Princess Diana never could? Will she be able to take the endless, insufferable press attention in stride? No one knows for sure, but all indications signal she can and already does. Sure there will be bumps in the road, but overall, I think Kate and William have known each other long enough---and each other's families---to know there won't be any huge surprises. They certainly seem well suited and devoted to each other. I wish them the best and hope their union prospers in every way.
Hopefully they can live in north Wales far away from the maddening crowds and insatiable press enjoying early marriage together in the more casual countryside where the prince will continue being a search and rescue pilot for the RAF. They both love the outdoors. As the British like to say: More information will be forthcoming in due time.
Monday, November 15, 2010
UPDATE 2: SELF-RIGHTEOUS TINA FEY JUST CAN'T HELP HERSELF WHEN IT COMES TO DISSING SARAH; PBS HAS TO AIRBRUSH HER REMARKS AT MARK TWAIN DINNER. Prediction: What made Tina's recent career will now break it.
DON'T RETREAT, RELOAD
QUESTIONS AND INNUENDOS SWIRLED EVERYWHERE THIS MORNING: Is this her next step to the White House? Is it really politically motivated? Were they fishing too close to the grizzlies? And on. Of course I loved it all, cause Sarah is my kinda get-your-hands-dirty-then-wash-'em woman. Best of all, she's got a light touch and terrific sense of humor. Can't imagine (just kidding) how feminists are reacting to this-here blippin' reality show. But I'd bet a dime-to-a-doughnut they're not happy with how charming and fresh they all come across. Scenery and wildlife are spectacular! What fun! That's enough. Who cares where it leads?
More at The Daily Beast.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
THIS WONDERFUL PIECE appears this week at The Gospel Coalition by Tullian Tchividjian, pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, a visiting professor of theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, and a grandson of Billy and Ruth Graham:
I’ve been preaching a series of sermons through the book of Job entitled “The Gospel of Suffering.” These sermons are changing my life. I’m learning so much about the gospel, idolatry, the long-term blessings of God-appointed trials, and so on. You can listen to the sermon series here.
A few weeks back I was expounding on Job’s sweeping losses and his response to those losses in chapters 1 and 2. What we learned together was stunning.
Job’s maintained his joy and perspective in a season of suffering because he held onto a robust theology of grace. Job knew that he was not entitled to anything he had—God held the title to everything. He knew that everything he had was on loan from God—his money, his relationships, his place in society, his family. Because he understood that he was an owner of nothing and a steward of everything he was able to say, “I came with nothing from the womb; I go with nothing to the tomb. God gave me children freely then, He took them to himself again. At last I taste the bitter rod, my wise and ever blessed God” (John Piper). While he loved his health and children and reputation and role and wealth, he didn’t locate his identity in those things.
This clearly shows that if the foundation of your identity is your things—the thing that makes me who I am is this position, these relationships, having this name, having this money, and so on—then suffering will be pulling you away from the uttermost foundations of your joy–and that will make you mad, bitter, and sad. But if your identity is anchored in Christ, so that you are able to say, “Everything I need I already possess in Him”, then suffering drives you deeper into your source of joy. Suffering, in other words, shows us where we are locating our identity. Our response to suffering reveals what we’re building our life on and what we’re depending on to make life worth living.
This means that suffering itself does not rob you of joy—idolatry does. If you’re suffering and you’re angry, bitter, and joyless it means you’ve idolized–and felt entitled to–whatever it is you’re losing. Entitlement and self-pity stem from our belief that we deserve more than what we’re getting–love, attention, respect, approval. The gospel, however, frees us to revel in our expendability! The gospel alone provides us with the foundation to maintain radical joy in remarkable loss. Joylessness and bitterness in the crucible of pain happens when we lose something (or think we deserve something) that we’ve held onto more tightly than God.
As Paul Tripp so probingly asks, “How is your present disappointment, discouragement, or grief a window on what has actually captured your heart?” When we depend on anything smaller than God to provide us with the security, significance, meaning, and value that we long for, God will love us enough to take it away. Much of our anger and bitterness, therefore, is God prying open our hands and taking away something we’ve held onto more tightly than him.
With this in mind, I find this fictional story from Elisabeth Elliot (taken from her book These Strange Ashes) to be refreshingly rebuking to my own soul–and therefore, remarkably liberating:
One day Jesus said to his disciples: “I’d like you to carry a stone for me.” He didn’t give any explanation. So the disciples looked around for a stone to carry, and Peter, being the practical sort, sought out the smallest stone he could possibly find. After all, Jesus didn’t give any regulation for weight and size! So he put it in his pocket. Jesus then said: “Follow Me.” He led them on a journey. About noontime Jesus had everyone sit down. He waved his hands and all the stones turned to bread. He said, “Now it’s time for lunch.” In a few seconds, Peter’s lunch was over. When lunch was done Jesus told them to stand up. He said again, “I’d like you to carry a stone for me.” This time Peter said, “Aha! Now I get it!” So he looked around and saw a small boulder. He hoisted it on his back and it was painful, it made him stagger. But he said, “I can’t wait for supper.” Jesus then said: “Follow Me.” He led them on a journey, with Peter barely being able to keep up. Around supper time Jesus led them to the side of a river. He said, “Now everyone throw your stones into the water.” They did. Then he said, “Follow Me,” and began to walk. Peter and the others looked at him dumbfounded. Jesus sighed and said, “Don’t you remember what I asked you to do? Who were you carrying the stone for?”
THIS CAN'T BE GOOD NEWS FOR OUR PRESIDENT who has been thrashed by foreign leaders during his recent Asia tour. But coming as it does today from the WaPo, which formerly endorsed Mr. Obama, it's a stunning admission of his failure of leadership and bumbling incompetence as our head of state. Pat Caddell writes One and Done and it is a must read.
This is a critical moment for the country. From the faltering economy to the burdensome deficit to our foreign policy struggles, America is suffering a widespread sense of crisis and anxiety about the future. Under these circumstances, Obama has the opportunity to seize the high ground and the imagination of the nation once again, and to galvanize the public for the hard decisions that must be made. The only way he can do so, though, is by putting national interests ahead of personal or political ones.
To that end, we believe Obama should announce immediately that he will not be a candidate for reelection in 2012.
If the president goes down the reelection road, we are guaranteed two years of political gridlock at a time when we can ill afford it. But by explicitly saying he will be a one-term president, Obama can deliver on his central campaign promise of 2008, draining the poison from our culture of polarization and ending the resentment and division that have eroded our national identity and common purpose.
We do not come to this conclusion lightly. But it is clear, we believe, that the president has largely lost the consent of the governed. The midterm elections were effectively a referendum on the Obama presidency. And even if it was not an endorsement of a Republican vision for America, the drubbing the Democrats took was certainly a vote of no confidence in Obama and his party. The president has almost no credibility left with Republicans and little with independents.
Friday, November 12, 2010
WE'RE SO TOLERANT AS SOME OF US PAT OURSELVES on the back for our progressive multiculturalism. On Capitol Hill no less.
But did you know, that several radical Muslims with ties to terrorist organizations have and are 'praying' on The Hill on Fridays? Evidently the site that named names for the sake of 'transparency' has now decided on a policy of 'non-transparency,' and been taken down. The above video on YouTube will probably come down too, as it has on Roll Call's site. So watch it while you can and bookmark it in your brain.
Can you imagine Iranian clerics allowing a weekly Christian service in Anglais at government headquarters in Tehran? Just saying.
And in other stuff we might be interested in knowing: The Daily Beast is merging with Newsweek. Only have one thing to say...no, make it two: 1) Tina Brown may think she's moving up in the world, but she's really moving down, down, down, like Katie Couric did a few years ago with great fanfare. 2) There goes the neighborhood.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Is the president motioning towards Mecca?
WITHOUT DOUBT, MY FAVORITE DANCE OF ALL TIME! These two carried it off with aplomb: Clean, tight, committed, improved and in control, with enough drama to hold our interest throughout. They didn't come across as loose cannons. Bristol won't win this contest, but she'll probably come in third because the 'dance-loving right' can't get enough of her and Mark, and keep on tuning in. Dancing's ratings have never been so good, so why not keep her as long as possible and enjoy the fun? She's fresh and very unaffected and they make the perfect pairing for this-here gig.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
SAY WHAT YOU want about her politics and nutritional crusading; there's little to nothing I admire or agree with in either. However, as a fashion trend setter for several generations of women, Michelle sets a tone I haven't seen since Jackie-O. Perhaps Nancy Reagan can be considered in the same category, but I'm not sure she was as daring as Michelle. Hillaryis and was certainly no icon with her signature pantsuits and widening derrier. Both Bush first ladies turned themselves out in predictable but suitable and dignified ways.
Anyway, I like Michelle's dress above though I'd rather the sleeves be 3/4 or shorter rather than so long, and I'd love to have seen some chiffon in the top. Still the colors are striking and the outfit works with her sheepdog looking do, silver nails and earrings.
Think Michelle was having fun? Style success aside, she doesn't exactly project the image of someone who's loving what they're doing to the absolute max.And here she's the toast of the world. Could it be the jet lag or that horrendous humidity? Or is this---as she allegedly told Carla Bruni--is this the world's worst job? I hope not.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
I want to publish this thought provoking piece in its entirety and hope you find it as worthwhile as I do. Bottom line, who and what we focus our attention and imaginations on matters all day, every day, every moment.
The Pipe Bomb of Truth Exploding Our Idols
Last week, I argued that creativity is a universal human trait. But much that is universally human (like digestion) isn’t necessarily a priority for conversation in the church. Why does creativity matter?
To tackle the question, I want to reflect briefly on the Bible, creativity, and idolatry.
Creation is again an obvious starting place. Genesis 1 and 2 show God at work, echoing each of his creative acts with the same refrain: “It was good.” The scriptures join in the refrain, celebrating God’s handiwork in creation and his supremacy as creator at almost every turn.As image bearers, we echo his creative impulse, working with what he’s done, and coming up with something else. But this impulse is corruptible. Sin has reduced our creativity and imagination, and has run amok with our affections. Isaiah 44 shows the creative instinct turned into something soul-destroying: using it to make a sad and pathetic object of worship. It’s absurd, Isaiah shows us, and yet our idols have utterly captured our imagination.
Romans 1 paints the same picture, showing us as people who have rejected God—who in turn gives us over to our own desires (My will, not Thy will). In the absence of community with God, we create substitutes and reap the sad benefits of their lordship.
Creativity doesn’t just make our idols; it sustains them. Our idols prey upon the power of creativity, particularly the power of imagination. Idols are absurd, and without the power of imagination to carry their vision of salvation along, they wouldn’t have nearly the power of seduction. The log in Isaiah remains a log without the power of imagination to make it something to which the carpenter can say, “Save me!” For idols to work, we have to be able to imagine a world where power, sex, money, and status can actually provide what our souls desperately need.
And they get a lot of help. Consider the world of advertising, where everything from a sports drink to a Lexus seems to promise soul satisfaction. Some of the best and brightest minds in the creative marketplace are at work trying to figure out how to help you see their product as the solution to your deepest problems. All they need to do is get a hook in your imagination. Then we find ourselves fantasizing and daydreaming about our idols.
‘Expulsive Power of a New Affection’
It’s easy to recognize our idols---the most important priorities of our lives. Removing them is another story altogether. As Thomas Chalmers points out in his classic sermon, what we need is a vision of truth that displaces our obsession and affection for these hollow daydreams. He called it the “expulsive power of a new affection.”
Chalmers argued that we can’t simply destroy our idols, or to put it another way, we can’t simply erase our daydreams. Instead, we must replace them. Chalmers says, “What cannot be thus destroyed, may be dispossessed—and one taste may be made to give way to another, and to lose its power entirely as the reigning affection of the mind.”
This is why creativity matters. Creatives all around the world are already working to capture people’s imaginations. But their goal is to win them over to a political worldview, a clothing brand, or a sports drink. Our God knows creativity well. As important as doctrine is, as important as legal language and clear facts are, God knows we need our imaginations to be captured by truth. We need to be won over by the surpassing beauty of Christ, the utterly compelling glory of God. We must see them as a greater good and a better hope than all the promises of our idols and daydreams.
So God doesn’t merely present the gospel to us in a contract. He gives us a wonderfully creative book in the Bible, and invites us to engage with our imagination. Israel’s rescue from slavery is both history and allegory. So see yourself in slavery, in the wilderness, and in the promised land.
The prophets speak to a context that is both particular and universal, so imagine yourself in their audience. Notice how Jesus responds to theological questions. He often says, “Let me tell you a story. There were once two brothers… “ or “Two men worked in a field…” or “Some young women were waiting on a bridegroom…” He knows his hearers need more than a black-and-white answer. They need something that ignites their imaginations.
Full Range of Human Emotion
Throughout the Bible, we’re confronted with creativity, artistry, and imagination. Psalms—often referred to as the “prayer book” of the Bible—is a song book that exposes the full range of human emotion. The book of Esther is a literary masterpiece, full of irony and wit, telling a story in which God is the hero though his name is never mentioned.
God sets his sights directly on our imagination, and we would be wise to follow suit. My friend Kevin Twit regularly talks about how the work of preaching and worship is to present Jesus as more beautiful and more believable than he was before. This is one of the ways that creative people can be a profound blessing to the church—disrupting and disturbing, targeting our imaginations. Replacing hollow daydreams about status and fame for dreams of a kingdom that turns status on its head, for dreams of a rock cut out without human hands that smashes all of our kingdoms and becomes the center of the world (Dan. 2:34).
There are examples aplenty. C.S. Lewis gives us a new vision of Jesus as Aslan, a lion who is good but not safe. Isaac Watts confronts us with the wondrous cross, a contradiction in terms that leads to worship. In more contemporary terms, Mark Driscoll presents Jesus to young men as someone worthy of respect, good in a fight, and worth aspiring to know and follow.
Christian music, at its best, ignites the imagination, too. Whether it’s the ragamuffin Jesus of Rich Mullins, the New/Old hymns of Sandra McCracken, or the works of J. S. Bach, music breaks through our defenses and haunts us with a fresh word of truth. Thad Cockrell’s “Oh to Be Loved” says absolutely nothing new about Jesus, and yet the song has reduced me to tears more times than I care to admit.
Artists and creatives can help to turn the imagination away from the promises of our idols towards promises and hopes that will never fade. They can confront and disturb, disrupting the comfortable apathy in which many of our religious thoughts reside, and haunting us like Jesus’ parables. A song, a story, a painting, or even a fresh illustration in a sermon can be tossed alongside us like an innocent gift, an unnoticed package. But inside is a pipe-bomb of truth, a mustard seed that can explode in our minds as it takes root, transforming our daydreams from hollow fantasy to faith-invigorated hope.
Mike Cosper is pastor of worship and arts at Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He writes on the gospel and the arts for The Gospel Coalition.
Tim Keller talks below on his recent book on idols, Counterfeit Gods.
Friday, November 5, 2010
FIRST AND FOREMOST, Tunku Varadarajan writes today at The Daily Beast on how President Obama has allowed relationships with one of the United States' greatest democratic allies---India---to wither on the vine, while simultaneously pursuing and playing nice with our enemies----those whose goal is to bring down our country and everything it stands for. For that, Mr. Obama is viewed in India, the ultimate red country, with great skepticism, even as his upcoming and polite hosts take down all the coconuts in Obama's path to keep our president from injuring his un-turbaned head. To wit Tunku writes in A Tattered Special Relationship:
Barack Obama’s visit to India, starting Saturday, may offer him some small respite from the drubbing that has made this week the nadir of his political life; but if he’s looking (a la Elizabeth Gilbert/Julia Roberts) for some Eastern salve for his battered soul, he isn’t going to find it in Mumbai or New Delhi....
SECOND, Bob Cusack writes realistically at The Hill on The Top Ten Challenges Boehner Will Face As Speaker of the House. While I'm overjoyed and thankful that conservatives have taken the House, I continue to think there are many difficulties ahead for us that may be hard to impossible to overcome in the next two years without a Republican Senate majority. Cusack highlights the heavy lifting House conservatives have cut out for them, starting with earmarks and going all the way to repeal and replacement of Obamacare.
THIRD, Graham Summers of Phoenix Capital Management writes today at Zero Hedge on the fallout of Ben Bernanke's foolish decision this week to foist another massive money printing scheme---lovingly refered to as QE2---on the American people. Even if you hate to read articles on the economy, this is well worth the struggle. Summers tells us succinctly three effects we might expect in the upcoming year: The Fed's Gone All In.
We can expect QE2 1) to fail miserably like QE1, 2) currency and trade wars to become the new normal and 3 ) inflation to make all commodity prices rise even more, including precious metals, oil, gasoline and especially food. Might be a good time to stock up on food staples for next year.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
There's little time for celebration and jubilation because much work needs to be done to turn back the tide of the federal government's growth and encroachment in every aspect of our lives and pocketbooks.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
THE BIG DAY IS HERE AND WE'RE HERE FOR THE DURATION!
I'll be linking to important quotes, news and opinions today.
----FIRST, in the spirit of bi-partisanship, I offer you Thirty-six Reasons to Vote Democrat! (A few choice reasons: 30.If you think it helps you if your boss gets hit with a huge tax bill -- vote Democrat. 31.If Chris Matthews gives you a tingle up your leg -- instead of an upset stomach - then vote Democrat. 32.If you think insurance companies can lower rates, pay for every small medical item -- and every preexisting condition -- and every illegal alien -- and stay in business -- vote Democrat. 33.If you agree with the French union protesters upset about having to delay retirement for two years to age 62 -- vote Democrat. 34.If you think a rally sponsored by Arianna Huffington, the SEIU, and the DNC is a non-political rally -- vote Democrat. 35.If you think electric cars are the answer because they don't use energy -- vote Democrat. 36.If you don't want Nancy Pelosi to retire -- vote Democrat.)
----SECOND, Roger Simon at Pajamas Media corrects Tina Brown of The Daily Beast and her assessment of what President Obama should have done/should do to to get back in touch with his people. And it's all about policy, Tina.
----THIRD, Republican win the death knell for Keynesian economic policies and a new day for the dollar? From Ned Schmidt at Kitco:
......with political drama unfolding in Washington on 3 November the Federal Reserve is not likely to unleash a massive QE II. They may announce a modest program, but not one that will destroy the dollar. Betting on QE II and a collapsing U.S. dollar is not now wise.
As the dollar in the above chart is moving through the parabolic curve, a new question arises. How high will the U.S. dollar go? When a parabolic formation corrects, that correction is usually dramatic and for greater than any expect. Also, given the propensity of today’s market traders to push markets to an extreme, we can expect the dollar to be pushed up more than it should.
Risk now is not how low will U.S. dollar fall, but how high will it rise. Bernanke and his Keynesian hooligans have created another asset price distortion. This Gold bubble may go the way of all predecessor bubbles, into pain and agony.